Using influencers to draw attention to a brand and create trust can provide an effective marketing strategy. This is a top method many retailers use to attract shoppers and promote products, as 91% of luxury brands and over 80% of retail, beauty, activewear and hospitality brands are using it. It also provides a rewarding return on investment for businesses, generating on average $6.50 in revenue for every $1 spent.
This is successful for grocery retailers as well, who can use food influencers to market their brand. Let’s look at why this type of marketing works for grocers and consider 5 strategies that fit this channel.
Why Should Grocers Use Influencer Marketing?
Leveraging influencers is a smart strategy for grocery retailers. When shopping for groceries, shoppers are highly motivated by recipes and photos online. In fact, recipes shared on social media are the top influencer for grocery shopping. Furthermore, 94% of shoppers buy new ingredients after seeing social media recipes and photos shared by their favorite influencer.
Influencer marketing is effective across industries because shoppers trust the recommendations of experts, personalities and others they follow online. Digital Marketing Institute reports that 86% of women look to social media for advice on buying and 49% of all consumers trust and rely on influencer recommendations when making purchase decisions.
This approach is effective, and grocers can leverage it as well. They can rely on food bloggers, food experts and other people connected to the industry to develop trust in shoppers, to encourage them to engage with their brand and to drive action on the part of the shopper.
5 Ways Grocery Retailers Can Leverage Influence
These are some of the methods grocers can use to leverage food influencers and gain marketing power:
1. Sponsored Social Media Posts
Sponsored posts on social media act as a combination of an ad and an organic post. It’s possible to use this form of marketing on many platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Influencers can share these posts on their social media channels to promote a certain grocery brand. This method helps the brand take advantage of the strong following their partner has created, and encourages the followers to engage with the brand through a recommendation from the influencer. These promoted posts are generally labeled in some way as separate from organic posts, such as with the #ad hashtag or the word “sponsored.”
Sprouts Farmers Market designated partners to help promote its stores throughout the 2018 holiday season. One example is a sponsored post by food stylist Betsy Haley, which highlights a crockpot recipe featuring ingredients found at Sprouts. The post not only included the #ad hashtag, but it also included #sproutspartner and #lovesprouts to further indicate her partnership with the grocery retailer.
2. Content Creation
One of the most popular ways to use food Influencers is by having them create content that features a brand’s products. This goes beyond simple posts that are shared on social media, and can be targeted to each influencer’s expertise. For example, content creation for grocery retailers could include original recipes that highlight products from the store, how-to food demonstrations and videos, or food styling and other photography.
Influencers can share their content to their followers, and the grocer can also share it across its brand platforms, such as social media, website and blog. Pinterest, in particular, is a great channel to share this type of content, as it’s the top platform for recipes among influencers.
As an example of how this method was used within this industry, Kroger used mom bloggers and social influencers to promote its Simple Truth brand. To build awareness for Kroger’s brand, the partners created videos focused on unboxing Simple Truth products and raving about the items to their audience.
3. In-Store Appearances
A food influencer’s impact extends beyond online channels. Retailers can also use partners to host in-store appearances and drive foot traffic into their store. The key is to create an event or promotion tied to a well-known person in the local community, and let shoppers know that the person will be present at the store. This creates interest that can encourage people to visit the brick-and-mortar store and engage with the brand and its products.
This tactic is ideal for new store openings. Grocers could invite a local food blogger to host a meet-and-greet for shoppers that coincides with the opening day. Other ideas include organizing a cooking demonstration to promote a new product or conduct a store tour with an influencer as the guide.
It can be difficult for grocery brands to build an audience and reach shoppers with important news and updates. They might be missing their target audience because they are not using the right tools or channels. Influencers can help by amplifying their message through their own platforms.
These people can help spread the word to a wider audience to increase the sheer number of viewers. On top of that, using this method can target the message to the shoppers who would be most interested in it. For example, a food blogger’s audience is most likely comprised of people who like to cook or want to learn how.
Grocery retailers can create unique events specifically for food influencers. These events can help show what the retailer offers and build excitement about a brand. Hosting events can also spark more engagement and bring people to a physical store location. Possible events could include a cooking contest, a holiday event, a charity event or one that targets a blogger’s specialty, such as frugal living, food photography or healthy eating.
One example of this is Food Lion’s Cook Off Contest. To show that it provides fresh yet cost-efficient food items, the grocer partnered with an agency and a restaurant to create a cooking contest between bloggers focused on frugal living and food. Through the contest, the brand showed how their products could be used and gained the promotion of the bloggers creating content about the event.
Influencer marketing can support grocers’ goals toward continued growth and retention of satisfied customers. By leveraging food influencers, grocery brands can tap into an established audience that trusts their recommendations and engages with their content regularly. Try one or more of the methods listed above to see how this marketing approach could impact your grocery brand.